We use a direct to garment printer for all of our printed products. Its speciality is high quality, high detailed, multi-coloured prints. It can do SO MUCH more than screen printing in many ways, but it really just doesn’t do well on black. Why? Because we used water-based inks.
A good way to think about it is to imagine your standard office printer. You put in a piece of white paper and you can print a fantastic, bright, multi-coloured print. Put a piece of grey paper in that same printer, and you’ll get your image, but it’s going to be a little duller as the ink is going to be affected by the grey of the paper. Put in a piece of red paper and everything is going to be shades of black and grey, and put in a piece of black paper you won’t see your print at all!! It’s the exact same with printing directly onto a garment. Here are a few examples to show how the colour of the ink will change depending on the colour of the t-shirt.
There is a way around this, and that is to pre-treat the t-shirt with a PVA type solution, then print a layer of white and then the design on top. In all honesty, its a total faff, expensive, messy, less eco-friendly and doesn’t look or feel that great. So, if black tees are what you’re looking for, or you’re looking for a design that is lighter than the colour of the t-shirt, then we always recommend screen printing as a way to go.
We don’t feel comfortable sending out orders that aren’t up to our standards, so we are only going to use this printer for what it does best, and that’s high quality, multi-coloured prints onto white and light tees!!